Our Story

For more than a quarter century, the Hub City Writers Project’s mission has been cultivating readers and nurturing writers through its independent press, community bookshop, literacy outreach, and diverse literary programming. 

In May 1995, a trio of writers in Spartanburg, SC, began to talk in a downtown coffee shop about how they could help preserve a sense of place in their rapidly changing Southern city. What their community needed, they said, was a literary identity. Modeling their organization after the Depression-era Federal Writers Project, they chose the name Hub City because it invoked Spartanburg's past as a 19th-century railroad center and challenged them to make their hometown a center for literary arts.

The first book was Hub City Anthology, a place-based collection of personal essays and art about the experience of living local. From there, Hub City began publishing writers across South Carolina and, eventually, the American South. Along the way, Hub City became a nonprofit organization and a vigorous literary arts programmer, sponsoring an annual writers conference, summer camps, workshops, scholarships, residencies, and scores of readings each year.

When Spartanburg lost its independent bookstore, Hub City stepped in and led a renovation of the ground floor of the historic Masonic Temple as a new hub of books, coffee, and baked goods. Hub City Bookshop became the nation’s first full-service bookshop operated by a non-profit organization. 

In 2020, our twenty-fifth anniversary, Hub City published its 100th book and celebrated ten successful years of bookselling at the Hub City Bookshop. With a dynamic team of staff and a hard-working board of directors, Hub City has become one of the most substantial literary arts organizations in the nation.



History in Brief

1995: Hub City Writers Project founded
1996: Hub City Anthology released
1999: First year for Writing in Place summer conference
2000: First grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
2002: Received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts in South Carolina. 
2006: Launched Writer in Residence program
2009: Press joins John F. Blair Distribution
2010: Hub City Bookshop opens 
2017: Press moves distribution to Publishers Group West
2018: Bookshop named “One of the South’s Best Bookshops” by Southern Living
2019: Bookshop named Independent Bookstore of the Year by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
2020: HCWP celebrated 25 years as a regional literary arts organization
2021: HCWP’s literacy outreach program, Books as Mirrors, was launched with a generous donation from Women Giving for Spartanburg
2021: The Watson Brown Southern Studies Fellowship for Arts and Letters, in partnership with the Chapman Cultural Center, is launched with inaugural artist Ben Winans and writer Morgan Thomas
2022: Hub City Press Author Ashley Jones, author of Magic City Gospel and Reparations Now!, is named the youngest and the first African American Poet Laureate for the state of Alabama

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